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Technology  7, May 2014

Say Hello to Indonesia’s la femme digitale Ollie and get tips on making it big

Her journey hasn’t been a cakewalk. From a coy girl-next-door to a self-assured techie woman, she speaks on what she had to shed and embrace…

She wakes up at 4 AM to read, and for her clicking a selfie and editing it is no less than a meditation she practises on a daily basis. Yes, she seems very interesting! Find out more about Ollie, one of Indonesia’s prominent women in technology, la femme digitale Indonesia.

A merely 30-year-old, Aulia Halimatussadiah or Ollie, as she is popularly known, has an amazing list of achievements to her credit. An owner of at least four companies, she writes too. She has written 28 books so far and is currently working on her 29th. Some of the books have been published by major publishers, while the others are being distributed through online channels.

Being the CTO of nulisbuku.com, now Ollie’s activities mostly focus on running the online self-publishing company, besides writing her own books. She is also an advisor to Kutukutubuku.com, the online bookstore she founded in 2006. Her other companies are Tuku Solution, and Tempalabs. She’s also one of the initiators of #StartupLokal community, and a Co-founder of Girls in Tech Indonesia.

It’s easy to spot the presence of Ollie in Indonesia’s startup events. She is always on the invitation list of most digital happenings, nationally as well as internationally. She also frequently speaks in forums representing women, entrepreneurs, techpreneurs, writers, and sometimes Muslim women. She recently participated in La journee de la femme digitale in Paris, and Global Crowdsourcing Week in Singapore.

With all her activities, it’s natural that people often wonder how exactly does she manage her time and energy. In fact, when Ollie threw a survey to her Twitter followers recently, managing energy turns out to be the number one on the list of the things Ollie’s followers want her to share.

Also Read: Nulisbuku brings on-demand publishing to Indonesia

Exclusively for e27, Ollie shares how does she do what she does, and her journey from a shy girl to a confident and fashionable businesswoman.

An excerpt from the chat:

Can you please tell our readers the secret people ponder over — your energy?
My energy is at its peak in the morning. I wake up at 4 AM and pray, after which I write. At times, I begin with reading and then start writing. This continues until 8 AM. Then it’s my breakfast, which usually includes protein shake and diet tea. I have my tea while reading. And then I catch up on the latest news (my favorite apps are Zite and Feedly) and update my social media. I also listen to some music.

Around 11 AM I leave. But before that I take my selfie. The time I get on my way to office is spent editing my picture, which is about half an hour. I believe in the power of looking good; you feel good the rest of the day if you think you look good. I then make sure to jot down my to-do and to-be lists.

I work until 4 PM, and then I start for things other than the daily stuff. It can be a social meet or with a reporter.

Collaborations seem to be one of the keys to your success. How do you find good partners?
The key is understanding my strengths and my weaknesses. In most of my ventures, I don’t go out and seek partners. We usually meet. And then you know you can work with the person if you just click immediately. Usually, the person is not the same as you. You have to find partners who can complement you well.

Your followers’ perception about you is that you are fashionable.
Earlier, I would not pay much heed to my appearance. Too scared to get out of my comfort zone, I played safe. And then something happened three years ago which made me realise that I had nothing to lose if I experimented with my style. I became fearless. Now, I wear only those clothes that make me feel great.

How can one become like you?
Take challenges; always do better than before. Previously, I would never speak alone in public. I always needed a moderator to accompany me on stage. But then I learnt. I took public speaking class. Back then, speaking in front of 20 people would drive me crazy. Now I know how to make an interesting presentation and speak in front of 300 people for three hours. It’s a process which helps you evolve.

Do you enjoy public speaking?
I was a timid, introvert girl. Speaking in public and enjoying it hasn’t come naturally to me. I have learnt that if I don’t speak, people are not going to gain anything from me.

Are there any life lessons that you have learnt on the way?
Kindness, I believe. I have friends and network all over the world. I often get invited to speak abroad, although I never apply; it’s people who recommend me. Last year, I was invited to Bahrain to speak about entrepreneurship for women. So a lot of things happen to me that have kindness as its core. And also people interest me. All the people whom I meet have something to teach me.

What is your message for women in technology?
Technology plays an important part in my life. Even as a child I realised I had a strong affinity towards technology. I became aware of the magic of the internet when the others around me had little idea about it. I wanted to make websites since it was considered quite cool back then.

I hope more women today embrace technology. I would like to tell them that you don’t need to be an IT person to succeed in the technology industry. Deploying technology to solve problems is what is essential.

I believe things will be better if we have more women in the industry. Currently, women are still under represented, only about 20 per cent. Since women tend to be more empathetic, they can better understand women customers and excel at project managing.

Also Read: Indonesia Innovates looks to highlight tech innovation in the country

Meisia Chandra

Meisia Chandra

An explorer and a thinker. Writes on digi-tech industry in Indonesia. Also works as a digital strategist and digital media manager in Jakarta.

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